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Identifying footprints of selection in stocked brown trout populations: a spatio-temporal approach


Michael M. Hansen, Fax: +45 8942 2722; E-mail:


Studies of interactions between farmed and wild salmonid fishes have suggested reduced fitness of farmed strains in the wild, but evidence for selection at the genic level is lacking. We studied three brown trout populations in Denmark which have been significantly admixed with stocked hatchery trout (19–64%), along with two hatchery strains used for stocking. The wild populations were represented by contemporary samples (2000–2006) and two of them by historical samples (1943–1956). We analysed 61 microsatellite loci, nine of which showed putative functional relationships [expressed sequence tag (EST)-linked or quantitative trait loci]. FST-based outlier tests provided support for diversifying selection at chromosome regions marked by three loci, two anonymous and one EST-linked. Patterns of differentiation suggested that the loci were candidates for being under diversifying hitch-hiking selection in hatchery vs. wild environments. Analysis of hatchery strain admixture proportions showed that in one wild population, two of the loci showed significantly lower admixture proportions than the putatively neutral loci, implying contemporary selection against alleles introduced by hatchery strain trout. In the most strongly admixed population, however, there was no evidence for selection, possibly because of immigration by stocked trout overcoming selection against hatchery-derived alleles or supportive breeding practices allowing hatchery strain trout to escape natural selection. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating footprints of selection in wild salmonid populations subject to spawning intrusion by farmed fish.